Lower car sales sent overall retail takings in Singapore down 5.5 per cent in December over a year ago.
Motor vehicle retailers reported a 32 per cent tumble in sales in December last year compared with the previous year, said the Department of Statistics on Friday.
If motor vehicles sales are excluded, retail sales would have gone up 0.3 per cent, the department added.
But the demand for cars appears to be picking up recently: retail sales increased 2.3 per cent in December over November, mainly due to higher motor vehicle sales, which rose 17.4 per cent in the month.
Excluding motor vehicles, overall retail sales would have eased 0.1 per cent in December from November.
Data from the statistics department also showed that retailers of medical goods and toiletries, petrol service stations and department stores rang up more sales in December compared with a year ago. Their takings rose between 3.9 per cent and 8.4 per cent in the period.
Most other retailers also took in more revenue in December over the year before, the department said.
But sellers of watches and jewellery, telecommunications apparatus and computers, and furniture and household equipment saw their takings decline. Their revenue fell between 5.1 per cent and 6.3 per cent in December from a year ago.
Sales of food and beverage services rose 1.9 per cent in December, compared with the same month in 2012. But they dipped 0.2 per cent in December over November.